Cable Ops to FCC: Time for ‘Fresh Look’ at 5.9 GHz Band

WASHINGTON—Cable operators are looking to merge into the 5.9 GHz spectrum, a space that has typically been set aside for connected cars.

The request came in a meeting between NCTA—The Internet & Television Association, Comcast and Charter and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s legal advisor Aaron Goldberger where they said it was time to take a “fresh look” for the 5.9 GHz band.

As the FCC looks to free up more spectrum for 5G, one such area has been the 5.9 GHz band. The commission is proposing that potential users share it with the incumbent vehicle-to-vehicle license users, which typically use it for communications between cars, a point of contention for car companies that are against sharing the spectrum.

The FCC wants to know if opening up the spectrum is feasible. Chairman Pai said in a speech to the Wi-Fi World Congress that the commission should look into new ways of utilizing the spectrum, and tests have been conducted that concluded that Wi-Fi devices could coexist with dedicated short-range communications (DSRC), which is a technology that vehicle-to-vehicle communications could use, though they are also looking at app-based communications.

Members of Congress from both parties said in June that they were open to the FCC reviewing the 5.9 GHz spectrum.